• From left: Aligarh, Experimenter, Ponyo, The Past, Swimming With Men (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
This week's highlights on SBS World Movies include Hayao Miyazaki's 2009 favourite Ponyo, Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder in 2015 biopic Experimenter, 2016 Indian film Aligarh (concerning the true story of a professor sacked following charges of homosexuality), Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim in 2013's The Past (from A Separation writer-director Asghar Farhadi), Mathieu Amalric in the feelgood French hit Sink Or Swim, and more.
SBS Movies

25 Oct 2019 - 1:58 PM  UPDATED 4 Oct 2021 - 6:42 PM



Japan, 2009
Animated, Family
 Hayao Miyazaki
What's it about?
This animated adventure, from acclaimed anime master Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away), centres on five-year-old Sosuke and his friendship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become human. When a powerful magic threatens to destroy the world, the two friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime to save the planet. Nominated for the Golden Lion at the 2008 Venice Film Festival.

Watch trailer

Dean Spanley

UK, 2008
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: English
Director: Toa Fraser
Starring: Peter O'Toole, Sam Neill, Jeremy Northam, Art Malik, Bryan Brown
What's it about?
Set in Edwardian England where upper lips are always stiff and men from the Colonies are not entirely to be trusted, Fisk Senior (O'Toole) has little time or affection for his son (Northam), but when the pair visit a swami (Malik), they start a strange journey that eventually allows the old man to find his heart.


American Pastoral

USA, 2016
Genre: Crime, Drama
Language: English
Director: Ewan McGregor
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning
What's it about?
Seymour “Swede” Levov (McGregor, also making his directorial debut), a former high school athlete who is now a successful businessman is married to Dawn (Connelly), a former beauty queen. When his beloved daughter, Merry (Fanning), disappears after being accused of committing a violent act, Swede dedicates himself to finding her and reuniting his family. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth novel of the same name.

School's Out

France, 2019
Genre: Drama, Crime, Mystery
Language: French
Director: Sébastien Marnier
Starring: Laurent Lafitte, Emmanuelle Bercot, Pascal Greggory, Luàna Bajrami
What's it about?
A replacement teacher, Pierre (Lafitte) arrives in a class of elite students after their professor jumped out of the window. He soon notices the strangely violent behavior of this united group of six. Unusually smart and precocious, the teens spread hostility and fear across the school. Soon, Pierre discovers their dark vision of a doomed future and their contempt towards the powerless adults who can no longer protect them.


The Two Faces of January

UK, 2014
Genre: Thriller
Language: English
Director: Hossein Amini
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac, Kirsten Dunst, Yiğit Özşener
What's it about?
Con artist Chester (Mortensen) and his glamorous wife (Dunst) try to flee their holiday destination in Greece with a random stranger (Isaac). One of them has been linked to the murder of a police officer and trying to frame the other for the crime. Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith (Carol, The Talented Mr. Ripley).

The Two Faces of January review: A high quality Highsmith adaptation 
The Two Faces of January: Viggo Mortensen and Hossein Amini interview


India, 2016
Genre: Drama
Language: Hindi
Director: Hansal Mehta
Starring: Sukhesh Arora, Manoj Bajpayee, Balaji Gauri
What's it about?
Set in the city of Uttar Pradesh and based on true events, the plot revolves around Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras (Bajpayee) who taught Marathi at Aligarh Muslim University, and who was sacked from his position of Reader and Chair of Modern Indian Languages, on charges of homosexuality. Screen International calls the film as "[a] subtle, sensitive take on a controversial real-life court case involving the victimization of a gay college professor" that "underscores the growing strength and diversity of Indian independent cinema". 


The Addams Family

USA, 1991
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Fantasy
Language: English
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci
What's it about?
When an evil doctor finds out Uncle Fester (Lloyd) has been missing for 25 years, he introduces a fake Fester in an attempt to get the Addams family's money. Wednesday (Ricci) has some doubts about the new uncle Fester, but the fake uncle adapts very well to the strange family.


USA, 2017
Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
Language: English
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
What's it about?
A couple's (Lawrence, Bardem) relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. The controversial latest feature from Darren Aronofsky, director of The WrestlerBlack Swan and Requiem For a Dream.



USA, 2015
Genre: Drama, History
Language: English
Director: Michael Almereyda
Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Anton Yelchin, John Leguizamo
What's it about?
Yale University, 1961. Stanley Milgram (Sarsgaard) designs a psychology experiment that still resonates to this day, in which people think they’re delivering painful electric shocks to a stranger strapped into a chair in another room. Milgram strikes a nerve in popular culture and the scientific community with his exploration into people’s tendency to comply with authority. Celebrated in some circles, he is also accused of being a deceptive, manipulative monster, but his wife Sasha (Ryder) stands by him through it all.

'Experimenter': Fascinating Biopic of Controversial Social Psychologist Stanley Milgram

Peter Sarsgaard as social psychologist Stanley Milgram in 2015's 'Experimenter'

Public Enemy Number 1 (Part 1)

France, 2009
Genre: Biography, Crime, Thriller
Language: French
Director: Jean-Francois Richet
Starring: Vincent Cassel, Cecile de France, Gérard Depardieu, Gilles Lellouche
What's it about?
The story of legendary French gangster Jacques Mesrine (Cassel), who was active in the 1960s and 1970s, and came to be known as French Public Enemy Number 1. Infamous for his bravado and daring prison escapes, Mesrine carried out numerous robberies, kidnappings and murders in a criminal career that spanned France, Canada and the USA. Winner of three César Awards, 2009.


Sink or Swim

Belgium, France, 2018
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Gilles Lellouche
Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Marina Fois, Benoit Poelvoorde
What's it about?
40-year-old Bertrand (Amalric) has been suffering from depression for the last two years and is barely able to keep his head above water. Despite the medication he gulps down all day, every day, and his wife's encouragement, he is unable to find any meaning in his life. Curiously, he will end up finding this sense of purpose at the swimming pool, by joining an all-male synchronised swimming team.

French star Gilles Lellouche makes a directorial splash with 'Sink or Swim'

What Happened to Monday

Belgium, France, UK, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Drama
Language: English
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Willem Dafoe, Glenn Close
What's it about?
In a not-too-distant future, where overpopulation and famine have forced governments to undertake a drastic One-Child Policy, seven identical sisters (Rapace, playing all) live a hide-and-seek existence pursued by the Child Allocation Bureau. The Bureau, directed by the fierce Nicolette Cayman (Close), enforces a strict family-planning agenda that the sisters outwit by taking turns assuming the identity of one person.


The Past

France, 2013
Genre: Drama
Language: French, Farsi
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa, Tahar Rahim
What's it about?
An Iranian man deserts his French wife and children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife Marie (Bejo, winner of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival prize for Best Actress) starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife's request for a divorce, unveiling a secret from their past. From acclaimed writer-director Asghar Farhadi, whose films A Separation and The Salesman have won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 and 2017 Academy Awards.

The Past review: Farhadi betters his Oscar-winning break-up tale
The Past: Asghar Farhadi interview

The Hairdresser's Husband

France, 1990
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Language: French
Director: Patrice Leconte
Starring: Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, Roland Bertin, Maurice Chevit
What's it about?
As a twelve-year-old, Antoine was introduced to sex by a beautiful woman who cut his hair, and as a middle-aged man (played by Rochefort), he has a passionate romance with a shy hairdresser (Galiena). From Patrice Leconte, director of Man On The Train and The Girl On The Bridge.

David Stratton reviews The Hairdresser's Husband (The Movie Show, Episode 45, 1991)